The view from the end of Nicky Wilson’s garden is incomparable. Southwards, over the rooftops of Wilkieston village, loom the Pentland Hills; east, beyond rolling green fields, lies Edinburgh; and towering 30 feet above her head is the vivid yellow bulb of a giant orchid, made of steel aluminium and created by the sculptor Marc Quinn.
“Amazing isn’t it?” said Mrs Wilson cheerily. “Marc positioned Love Bomb opposite the house. He said to me, ‘Scotland has such terrible weather, you’ll want to come out of the house and see something colourful.’”
Mrs Wilson, 42, housewife, mother and owner of nine miniature donkeys, is the moving spirit behind Jupiter Artland, the title she has given to her 80-acre estate in West Lothian.
If the name sounds grandiose, it’s probably deliberate, reflecting an artistic indulgence to match the wildest Victorian folly. In essence she has commissioned more than 20 works by contemporary artists, urging them to respond to the grounds of her 17th-century country home, Bonnington House.
The responses are often of epic proportion. Quinn’s 12-metre orchid is the work of the artist who created the sculpture of Alison Lapper Pregnant for the fifth plinth in Trafalgar Square. In the woods, Temple of Apollo and a head of Sappho represent the last works of the late Ian Hamilton Finlay.
The entrance driveway to the house winds through a terraced landscape moulded by Charles Jencks, a creation so vast it dwarfs even Landform, his best-known work, which fills the grounds in front of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art.
Even the bollards by the road are by Antony Gormley, and the garden gate, by Ben Tindall, is all twisty vines mingled with blooming metal flowers. “Looks like a flu virus doesn’t it?” Mrs Wilson said. “Don’t write that down.”
This was a great day out. Read more here By Jupiter.
The pic, as many more have been here recently, is by James Glossop. Remember that name. The lad is minor genius.